9 techniques to improve your natural referencing with Google Trends

In a previous article we introduced you to Google Trends and discussed the main uses of the tool in order to give you leads for content marketing and SEO. We had indeed discussed the features of keyword search, finding similar keywords, and discovering related topics. Below we will go into more detail and unveil nine more specific tips to get the most out of Google Trends.



Filter your search

How do I get started on Google Trends? The first step is to enter an important keyword related to your topic and launch the search. From then on, Google Trends will invite you to refine your search in the following way:

  • Using the country” filter allows you to geographically target a specific market. For example, you will see the word “umbrella” peak at different times of the year in different hemispheres.
  • The search period selection ranges from “2004 – present” to the “past 4 hours“. Our tip: use several timeframes to get an idea of long-term versus short-term trends. More on this later.
  • Filtering by category and sub-category is essential to refine your search and exclude certain queries that would be irrelevant.
  • The type of web search (including web pages, images, news, Google Shopping and YouTube) is another essential category.


With about 6.3 billion searches per day and about 2.3 trillion worldwide searches per year (😱 yup, that’s a lot!), the key is to start big, then filter to get the most relevant information.


The importance of context

Google Trends works in a very relativistic way. Indeed, today’s results are not compared to the overall popularity of all trends, but rather to the previous rankings of the keywords you entered.

An example: let’s take the expression “Portugal trip” in Europe, which was rather used by travelers in a pre-Covid-19 period.

On a default search over the last 12 months we get this graph;


At first glance, it doesn’t seem very surprising that the popularity of this research declined in mid-March due to the pandemic. And to conclude that travel to Portuguese-speaking countries is less sought after? Ok, but what happens now if we change the date filter to set it from 2004 to today?

The general trend ultimately appears to be much more stable. This oscillating search pattern is characteristic of seasonal search terms, especially when it involves tourism activities.

It is therefore important to consider the context and take a step back from it as well.

To further integrate the context dimension into your analysis, you can also:

  • use the compare feature to add new keywords
  • filter by country or category
  • and select the type of results



Specific search options

Using “related queries” and other specific search options can help you find new keyword ideas – and even capture leads from your competitors.
You will notice five options, many of which are not always used by frequent users of Google Trends:

  • Web Search (default).
  • Image Search
  • News Search
  • Google Shopping
  • YouTube Search


Each individual click will give results based on different segments of your potential markets.
You will also notice that there are even more options to sort popular topics and queries:


Note that this option is set to certain default settings: it shows you the upward trends. Click on “Rising” and you will also be able to view the most frequently associated topics. Generally, the “Breakout” option is best suited if you want to identify the most recent trends.

These suggestions prove to be very useful for natural SEO as they can help you get inspiration for new content that turns out to be on an upward trend.

Do the same with queries: there is a good chance that you will discover a new trend before it becomes too popular to secure a leading position for your latest article on the subject.


Specific location

A superficial use of Google Trends will focus exclusively on keywords. But to get the best results, you will also need to integrate localization into your search.

By using local keyword trends, you can see exactly which regions need your products or services, allowing you to target them with perfect precision when implementing your SEO strategy.

Location filtering allows you to target geographic areas where demand for your products or services is highest.

Using the trends of our research “Portugal trip”, you will find that residents of Massachusetts are the most interested:


It is sometimes possible to go further and have more information to see the cities where this demand emerges the most.


Trend forecasts

It’s one of the most interesting things about Google Trends to be able to identify the first signs of emerging trends. But the main problem is that most marketers do it too, so everyone has access to the same data.

If you want more information, try using the available data to forecast trends. And in order to know the latest trends before anyone else does, you should always keep an eye on seasonal and local trends.

By using Google Trends, you can find relevant topics that are hot right now…. and create content about them before anyone else does.

Not so long ago, the practice of “newsjacking” was a sure way to capitalize on current topics. Google Trends can indeed show you exactly what are the hottest trends of the day. There are two ways to do this:

  1. Identify trends by filtering according to specific categories or countries. Today’s big health topic may not make the headlines on Google Trends, but it can help you identify what to watch for.
  2. Compare two key phrases in the same trend. For example, “Vote for Trump” (in red) and “Vote for Biden” (in blue) both experienced an upward trend during the month of September 2020. What does this mean? This is a great question to start the conversation (i.e. to stimulate engagement).

Use long-tail keywords to inspire content creation

Reaching the top of the SERP for “Portugal trip” remains a complicated challenge, but there is no reason why you can’t get to the top of Google search results for so-called long-tail queries.

If for example you run a blog about music news and want to talk about an event like the Grammy awards, maybe you should find another angle of attack as the subject is going to be widely covered. By clicking on the trend, you’ll get the main questions asked to Google, the best and most sought-after new artists, and even questions related to the Grammy host – like “How old is James Corden” (editor’s note: the show’s host)?

By going beyond your original idea and crossing queries, you can find insightful content ideas to be processed.


Use data for video optimization

Viewing related topics – not just related queries – can help you further optimize your video content for search.

Suppose you published a video on how to get discounts on trips to Portugal:

  • Enter your search term.
  • Switch from web search to YouTube search.
  • See related questions and topics.
  • Sort by priority or in ascending order.


You’ll find that among the growing number of related topics, people are looking for RVs.

With this knowledge, you are in a better position to write relevant titles and descriptions. You may even decide to create a series of videos (or the content of a blog) explaining the advantages of camping when travelling to Portugal…


Use Cyclical Trends for Brand Positioning

Let’s imagine that you are looking to optimize the referencing of a boutique specializing in weddings.

Has interest in weddings been influenced by Covid-19 this year? Instinctively one would be tempted to say yes.

A simple search of the term “wedding” over the past 5 years reveals that interest in marriage declined in mid 2020, but has bounced back.

Historically, interest in weddings has been fairly consistent throughout the year.

So even though wedding plans have been thwarted this year for some, we can see that wedding plans for the coming months are back on track, regardless of the context of the pandemic. And since wedding ceremonies will not yet take place as they did a year ago, more research is still needed to see how interest in the celebration of couples’ unions is evolving!


Keep a distance from trends

In addition to what has just been explained, you need to get ahead of the trends.

  • Never rely on a single cliché. Always have a broader view (time, location) to see what else is going on.
    Is a trend of increasing one query overshadowed by other more important ones? Always look at the context.
    Analyzing the marriage research in the previous example, we saw a drastic increase in YouTube trends for weddings in the summer of 2017 – much higher than previous summers – almost quadrupling the previous interest. A deeper search did not identify a specific keyword, but instead a drastic increase of the interest in weddings in South Asia. This geographic trend is an excellent example of a unique insight into context.
  • It’s up to you now to make the most of Google Trends to improve your SEO, whether in the discovery of business opportunities or SEO, through the analysis of positions to take or in the creation of content